Mayor Adler rules Troxclair's ridesharing amendment 'not germane'

Item 41 on City Council's agenda Thursday -- a resolution directing City Manager Ott to identify "revenue-neutral" city resources to help grow the Transportation Network Companies (TNC's) that stuck around after the failure of Prop 1.

"It's existing programs, existing resources, not taking funding away from any other need really, just making sure that our transportation network companies that are here and are small but trying to scale up are aware of the existing city resources," said Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo.

But the discussion turned to council's December ordinance...the whole reason Uber and Lyft aren't here anymore.  Fingerprint background checks for drivers were the main point of contention. 

Council Member Ellen Troxclair, a vocal ridesharing and Prop 1 supporter brought forth an amendment to Tovo's resolution just making sure no money goes to companies that aren't complying with the December ordinance her colleagues of the dais fought hard to pass.

"My amendment simply said that those TNC companies have to comply with existing city regulations before they can receive taxpayer funds," Troxclair said.

But Mayor Adler took issue with that...pointing out that fingerprinting is not mandatory at the moment because the penalties for not having fingerprinted drivers haven't been decided yet.  So the language is incomplete.

"I don't support you trying to regulate TNC's in that manner.  It would be the first time anybody on this council has done that," Adler said to Troxclair.

Using parliamentary procedure, Mayor Adler ruled Troxclair's amendment not germane.

"Discussions about compliance and penalties...I completely agree was not germane to the intent of this resolution," Tovo said.

"I think it was basically a desperate attempt to try to block an open and honest conversation about when the city is going to start enforcing its own regulations that are on the books," Troxclair said.

Council Member Zimmerman challenged the Mayor's ruling.

"They were asking these companies to submit to rules that weren't even well-defined.  To add further to that hipocracy we now have several smaller companies who are operating in defiance of the rules and so the city wants to offer them taxpayer money and subsides and loans.  It's crazy," Zimmerman said.

Earlier in the week, the Chief Experience Officer of "Get Me" told me they have some fingerprinted drivers and some non fingerprinted drivers. They're working on getting everyone fingerprinted. 

Back to the issue of money going to TNC's, Council Member Troxclair tells me she doesn't believe any city money was ever given to Uber and Lyft.  Mayor Pro-Tem Tovo's office says they could have applied for some of the same money.